Apr 27, 2019

U.S. citizen released from Venezuela after 5-year detainment

A U.S. citizen detained in Venezuela since 2014 on attempted murder and weapons trafficking charges was released and flown back to the U.S. this week, NBC reports.

Details: A U.S. State Department official speaking on the condition of anonymity told NBC that a Venezuelan judge granted Todd Leininger parole in May 2018 and his release was court-ordered in November. In a 2014 Reuters interview, Barbara Leininger said her son previously admitted to shooting a man in self-defense during what he described as an "altercation" and that he has "some psychological issues," as reported by NBC.

The big picture: The U.S.- Venezuela relationship is currently strained by escalating U.S. sanctions and suffering of the Venezuelan people as a political stalemate unfolds between Nicolás Maduro's regime and National Assembly President Juan Guaidó. The U.S. withdrew all diplomatic staff from Venezuela after recognizing Guaidó as the country's interim president 3 months ago. President Trump has suggested the U.S. might be ready to back Guaidó with force.

Go deeper: A closer look at Venezuela's crisis

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Pelosi warns U.S. allies against working with China's Huawei

Nancy Pelosi on Feb. 16. Photo: Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday cautioned U.S. allies against allowing Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to develop their 5G networks, arguing at the Munich Security Conference that doing so is akin to “choosing autocracy over democracy," CNBC reports.

Why it matters: Pelosi's hawkish stance marks a rare area of agreement with the Trump administration, which believes Huawei is a national security threat because the Chinese government may be capable of accessing its equipment for espionage.

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Judge sets "scheduling" conference call ahead of Roger Stone sentencing

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has requested a Feb. 18 "scheduling" conference call in the Roger Stone case, two days before the former Trump associate is set to be sentenced.

Why it matters: Stone's defense team on Friday filed a sealed motion for a new trial — the second time they've done so — amid allegations of juror bias and a growing controversy over Attorney General Bill Barr's intervention in the case.

Biden says Bloomberg's money can't "erase" his record

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Former Vice President Joe Biden said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that Michael Bloomberg's vast fortune cannot "erase" his record, and that scrutiny of Bloomberg's positions on things like race and policing will ramp up now that he's in the national spotlight.

Why it matters: Biden's polling free fall in the wake of poor performances in Iowa and New Hampshire has coincided with a surge for Bloomberg, who appeals to a similar moderate bloc of the Democratic Party. The billionaire's limitless spending capacity poses an especially stark threat to Biden, who has struggled with fundraising.